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Unsubscribing from Unconscious Spend

Do you know how many subscriptions you are signed up for? How about how much you are spending on them each month? Are you having trouble answering these questions? Join the club!

In a recent study, researchers asked 2,500 Americans to spend 10 seconds thinking about how much they spend on “recurring monthly expenses associated with digital services, devices and subscription boxes”. On average, people guessed they spent roughly $80 per month. The subjects were then asked to analyze their subscription spending in detail. The result? The subjects realized what they actually spent: an eye-popping monthly average of $237. That’s almost $3,000 annually and 3X their original guess.

Over the last few years, the number of subscription-based services has increased at an exponential rate. Free trials and low monthly fees hook us into everything from TV streaming services to monthly beauty-box subscriptions we never knew we needed. And guess what, those sub-$10 per month fees add up. Furthermore, because we are automatically charged each month, we are often unaware of what we have subscribed to and how much we are truly spending.

This unconscious spend, some of which may even be for subscriptions that are forgotten and unused, is money that could be put towards paying off debt, retirement, or investments. Unfortunately, streaming services and gyms are not going to call you to let you know that you haven’t used their service for the last year despite paying them each month. It’s in their financial interest to stay under the radar, make cancelling difficult, and keep you as a customer.

Here at Petal, we want to help card members spend on what matters and stay on top of what doesn’t. We want you to know what you are subscribed to and make it easier to cancel services when they are no longer useful. With that in mind, we are excited to launch the Subscription Center, a new widget within our Insights section. The widget automatically highlights monthly subscriptions that are charged on your Petal card and the total amount spent on those subscriptions. One small widget, one big step towards turning your unconscious spend into something a bit more calculated.

Awareness is only the first step. By clicking on a subscription purchase in the Dashboard, card members can learn more about the purchase and, most importantly, how to unsubscribe. We think this makes cancelling unwanted subscriptions easier, and helps card members cancel subscriptions they no longer use or have forgotten about completely.

Building features that decrease cardholder spend is counter to what most credit card companies might do, as a very large portion of credit card revenue comes from the interchange made from how much card members spend on their card. Here at Petal, we are a little different. We are driven by the mission to make life easier with access to credit that is honest, simple, and accessible, and we strongly believe that financially responsible card members are more loyal, happier, and less likely to default. We are thrilled that Petal’s new Subscription Center can help card members be more informed and efficient with their spending.

In keeping with our “Move fast and Iterate” mantra, we are constantly listening to members and thinking of new ways to help solve their financial pain points with technology. If you recall, Subscription Center’s launch comes just weeks after we initially launched the Insights section to empower our members to be more financially aware and in control. Speaking of, do you have a feature suggestion, feedback on Subscription Center, or thoughts any of the other widgets on the Insights section? Scroll to the bottom of the Insights section and click “Send us feedback” to let us know!


This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, is subject to change without notice, and is not intended as financial planning, investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice or opinion. Petal assumes no obligation to provide notifications of changes in any factors that could affect the information provided. There is no guarantee that any strategies discussed will be effective.



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